Two rescued puffins who were found in distress on beaches in Fife and Angus have been returned to the wild by animal welfare workers.
Christened Tony and Don by the Scottish SPCA officers who cared for them, the pair were discovered by members of the public within hours of each other last month.
They were cared for at the charity’s national wildlife rescue centre.
And following a full recovery, the puffins have now been released back into the wild at Elie beach in Fife by Scottish SPCA staff, who were helped by experts from the Scottish Seabird Centre in North Berwick.
Birds enjoyed paddle in Forth
A little apprehensive at first, the birds eventually clambered out of their box on to rocks before flexing their wings and taking a paddle in the Forth.
Just moments later the pair found their sea legs and were away, concluding another successful rescue mission for the animal welfare charity.
Red-listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), puffins are regarded as globally vulnerable due to declining numbers.
April Dodds, assistant manager of the Scottish SPCA’s rescue centre, said: “Don was found on a beach in Montrose with an injured leg and was sitting on the beach feeling very sorry for himself.
“Meanwhile, Tony came in just a few hours later from a beach in Fife.
“A member of the public’s dog found him under a pile of seaweed, injured and soaked through from the rain.
“Both these birds were very lucky to have been found and we’d like to thank the members of public involved for taking the time to stop and help them.
‘Fantastic feeling’ to see birds returned to wild
“As puffins are sociable birds we decided to pair the two of them up so they could have some company during their rehabilitation.
“After a few weeks of medical treatment from our specialist veterinary team, plenty of rest and a good feed they were ready to be released.
“We’d like to say thank you to our friends at the Scottish Seabird Centre who helped us with the release.
“It’s always a fantastic feeling to watch animals return to the wild but none more so when the animals in question are vulnerable species like these puffins.
“We know how tenuous the wild population is so it’s important to do everything we can to rehabilitate and release any that come in to our care.”
Susan Davies, CEO of the Scottish Seabird Centre, said: “We have a huge amount of respect for the work of the Scottish SPCA and were delighted our team could provide some advice to aid the safe release of these rehabilitated puffins.
“Many of our internationally important seabirds, including puffins, are in steep decline and so it was just great to see Don and Tony returning to sea.”